There’s a direct correlation between the return of Cam Whitmore and Villanova’s two-game winning streak.
Whitmore, a highly-touted freshman, had seven points and three steals in a 70-66 win over Oklahoma last Saturday. He then produced a career-high 21 points in a 70-59 victory over Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
The Wildcats (4-5) can now suddenly move back to .500 with a win over Boston College on Saturday in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at Newark, N.J.
Whitmore missed the first seven games of the season following surgery on his right thumb after an injury suffered during a preseason practice.
“I’m still shocked that he can go out there and play at this level after having practiced four-five times before his first game,” Villanova first-year head coach Kyle Neptune said. “We’ve just been talking to him about playing hard, making sure he’s giving us the effort, especially defensively. We know the talent he is offensively, and he’ll figure that part of it out.”
Caleb Daniels and Eric Dixon added 12 points each against Penn and Brandon Slater had 10 for the balanced Wildcats, who continue to play without key standout Justin Moore (Achilles).
Boston College will look to snap a three-game losing streak when they battle Villanova.
The Eagles (5-5) received 14 points from Jaeden Zackery but fell 74-71 in overtime at home to New Hampshire on Tuesday.
Boston College played without starting point guard Makai Ashton-Langford, who was injured in the first half of its 75-59 loss at Duke on Saturday. His status is unclear for the game against Villanova.
“Obviously, these teams are coming in with a lot of excitement to play against us,” Boston College head coach Earl Grant said after Tuesday’s loss. “Typically, when you play these teams, it’s one of the biggest games on their schedule. We had to create our own energy on a night we didn’t have a big crowd.”
The Eagles also suffered a home loss to Maine earlier this season.
The Eagles have allowed two of their past three opponents to shoot over 50 percent from the field and have given up eight or more 3-pointers in three straight games.
In order to defeat the Wildcats, Boston College is fully aware that it must improve defensively.
“In order to make a run, you have to keep making stops and keep being sound on defense,” Grant said. “We did it in patches, but we just didn’t sustain it.”
–Field Level Media